Sunglasses After Dark

Nancy A. Collins
Sunglasses After Dark Cover

Sunglasses After Dark - Must Read Vampire Book


I knew next to nothing about Sunglasses After Dark before reading it and this was the perfect mental state for me to begin reading this book with.

Considering the plethora of vampire and vampire hunter books out there right now, it would have been easy to have my mind trained on (and tainted by) the popular "vampire-y" books that have come out in the last 20 or so years. It is a good idea to keep in mind that this book was originally published in 1989, but it doesn't feel dated, instead it feels quite current and more interesting and innovative than many books on similar themes that have come out in the past few years.

The recent/modern vampire is one who has lost its depth and darkness. One who has no edge and is tragically romantic. Even when they aren't so pathetic they are still bested by some whippersnapper quite easily, all things considered. These dime a dozen books (many of which, to be honest, I have enjoyed) feature spunky & tough female protagonists with lots of drama and romantic suitors galore.

Not so in this book. While Sunglasses After Dark has its own faults - one thing that can be said about it is that it stands apart from the typical vampire story that has dominated the scene recently and it has a fascinatingly original plot and world to boot.

The vampires here are not tragically lovely and lonely and in need of romance. This book is placed in a world that is dark and gritty, filled with monsters (not all inhuman) and lots of gore. Instead of the typical vampire lore, Collins created a new and interesting history for vampires. The monsters have less recognizable human emotions and motivations, and the main character herself is not so focused on her creation as she is on revenge.

It is this main character and her counterpart that are the best parts of this book. Sonja Blue, the protagonist of this novel, is a character I can easily see gathering a cult following (which she has). She is a semi-human & semi-vampire creature whose motivations are both recognizable and completely alien. Her counterpart is Catherine and her origin story and character are just as fascinating and dark as Sonja's.

Sure, this novel is slightly lacking in plot depth, but that can be chalked up to trying to build a first novel in a series and establishing a new world and character.

Yes, the novel is a bit short, is a fast read, and has a conclusion that happens a bit too quickly and doesn't measure up to the rest of the book. Sure, all of this can be a little disappointing and lead to the reader (me) waiting for the next installment to arrive in the mail and felling left hanging.

Never the less Sunglasses After Dark is a very fun and fascinating read. Its weaknesses are outweighed by the unique vampire culture and supernatural world it is set in, and the very interesting and morally ambiguous central characters whose exploits Collins portrays for us quite vividly. I give it 3 and 1/2 stars and eagerly wait for the next book to come in the mail.